|Select Economic and Energy Data†||Value||State Rank|
|Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita||$38,420||18th highest|
|Gasoline Price, per gallon||$2.70||11th lowest|
|Electricity Price, per kWh||15.2¢||6th highest|
Like most of the states in the Northeast, New Hampshire has some of the most expensive electricity prices in the United States. More than 40 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from the Seabrook nuclear power plant, the largest single nuclear reactor in New England. Natural gas provides 26 percent of New Hampshire’s electricity, with coal meeting almost 15 percent of demand.
New Hampshire has no fossil fuel resources, so its natural gas is delivered through pipelines from Maine and Canada and its coal is imported from other states. The Connecticut and Merrimack River basins offer hydroelectric resources, which generate almost 8 percent of the state’s electricity.
Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy
Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.
Below are some facts about the regulatory environment of New Hampshire that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy.
- New Hampshire does not cap greenhouse gas emissions. However, as a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, it has imposed a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
- New Hampshire is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional agreement among ten Northeast states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This agreement requires states to cap carbon dioxide emissions from the electrical generation sector and to reduce those emissions by 10 percent by 2018 through a cap-and-trade scheme.
- The Clean Power Act, passed in May 2002, requires the state’s three fossil fuel power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 3 percent less than 1999 levels, but it allows the use of credits from plants outside New Hampshire to fulfill this requirement.[i]
- New Hampshire requires utilities to sell a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. The state’s renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to provide 23.8 percent of retail electricity sold from renewable sources by 2025.[ii]
- New Hampshire does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels. However, New Hampshire has agreed to cooperate with other northeastern states to develop a regional low-carbon fuel standard. Also, New Hampshire requires reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol to be used in the southeastern part of the state.[iii]
- New Hampshire does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
- New Hampshire requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. Residential and commercial buildings must meet the New Hampshire Energy Code, which is based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).[iv] The IECC, developed by the International Code Council, is a model code that mandates certain energy efficiency standards. In 2005, Governor John Lynch issued Executive Order 2005-4, committing New Hampshire to improve energy efficiency in state-occupied buildings by 10 percent.[v] The executive order also requires new construction and renovation designs to exceed the state energy code by at least 20 percent.
- New Hampshire does not impose state-based appliance efficiency standards. However, state agencies and departments are required to purchase Energy Star equipment.[vi]
- New Hampshire does not allow utilities to “decouple” revenue from the sale of electricity and natural gas. Some states decouple revenue from actual sales, allowing utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.
† Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_ state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity, (March 15, 2010), http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009, http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/generation_state_mon.xls.
[i] New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Overview of HB 284, The New Hampshire Clean Power Act, http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/tsb/tps/aetp/clean_power_act.htm.
[ii] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States, http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/lbnl-154e.pdf.
[iii] Energy Information Administration, New Hampshire, Apr. 8, 2010, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=NH.
[iv] Building Codes Assistance Project, Code Status: New Hampshire, http://bcap-energy.org/node/83.
[v] N.H. Exec. Order 2005-4 (July 14, 2005), http://www.governor.nh.gov/orders/documents/Executive_order_2005-4.pdf.
[vi] Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=NH06R&re=0&ee=1.